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Keep It Simple

Today’s trade show floor is filled with a higher level of decision makers looking for solutions to their pain.  Often working from a tightly formed agenda, if you are not on that list to visit, your exhibit has to grab his/her attention.  Your graphic image and message play an important role in your success.  These best practices are a great place to start.


  1. Keep it Simple: Remember, you have 3-5 seconds to attract a prospective client’s attention – especially on a busy trade show floor.  Who you are must be obvious and clear.  And if you are part of a large organization, your division or region needs to be spelled out as well.  For example, GE is not as clear as GE Oil and Gas.  GE is known, however, GE Oil and Gas is specific and helps prospective clients understand how you might fill a need.
  2. What You Do is the second most important message after your name. Does your tag line spell out that distinction?  If your tagline could easily be used by almost any company, then it needs support to help inform attendees what it is you do.  For example, “Quality Service and Support” is not as strong as “Auto Transmission Quality Service and Support”.
  3. Support Your Message with Bullet Points – if needed. Further define your message with 3-5 bullet points, not paragraphs.  Your prospective client should be able to scan them quickly and answer the question as to how you fit into their world.  You are helping them to qualify themselves before they ever step into your booth space.
  4. A Picture is Worth 1000 words. You have heard it your whole life and you know it to be true.  Use images that will help your prospective client put themselves into that solution.  The images should make your prospect want that feeling the image represents.  The idea of keeping it simple still applies.
  5. Keep the Look and Feel consistent with your other marketing materials. The first thing a new prospect does after a successful visit to your exhibit is gather more information about your company.  If what they learned does not match other marketing materials such as your website, business card, brochures, etc… then your credibility goes down.  Mixed messages, various logos, or a multitude of different looks raises concern about your stability in the minds of prospects.  Think about how you make decisions about a new venture.  Your clients are you.


If this is not your organization’s strong suit, utilize the skills of an artist that specialize in trade show graphics.  The design meeting should focus on your goals and give the artist a clear direction to help you achieve those goals.  It will be some of the best money you can spend.

Here’s to your successful exhibit program!


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About the Author

Shawn Lacagnina was a sales manager at Skyline Displays of Houston in Houston, Texas.

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